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Monday, January 26, 2015

Black Sea

It's "Three Kings" meets "In Search of the Titanic" meets "Run Silent, Run Deep" when an out of work marine salvage submarine captain (Jude Law) puts together a motley crew, half British & half Russian, on a secret mission to find a rumored sunken German U-boat filled with gold bullion. If you ever seen any submarine movie, you know things are going to go terribly wrong in classic underwater fashion. The mood is claustrophobic, slow-paced, and intense as tempers flare, mistrust broods, and greed swells. Will anyone survive or are they all doomed to a watery grave.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "crush depth" stars out of 4.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Mortdecai

It's "The Pink Panther" meets "National Treasure" when a scoundrel of an art dealer Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) gets mixed up in a murder mystery/painting heist that has British Secret Service (Ewan McGregor) involved because of possible Nazi ties. Add in Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Olivia Mumm, and Jeff Goldblum to the cast of odd characters in this over the top comedy. True to form, Depp again creates another unique performance that you'll either love or hate. Bettany steals his scenes as Mortdecai's man servant/body guard. If you like this brand of silliness, you may enjoy this spoof on the sleuth/caper genre.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "debonair mustachioed rogue" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The DUFF

It's today's social media infused version of "Mean Girls" if it were a romantic comedy featuring cyber bullying. Mae Whitman stars in the role of the D.U.F.F. (urban slang for designated ugly fat friend) although she is neither ugly nor fat because this movie isn't that cruel. The DUFF is the gateway to her more attractive friends. Bella Thorne plays the mean girl role. High school teenagers are the target audience in this comedy but it is peppered with language that includes terms like man-whore and dick face. This story is about self image, who your real friends are, and owning it by being true to yourself.

Alien gives it 3 "video humiliation" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Boy Next Door

It's "Obsessed" meets "Fatal Attraction" when Ryan Guzman steps it up and does another kind of dance with the beautiful & sexy Jennifer Lopez. A high school teacher with marital problems has a regrettable one night stand with the hunky & charming teenager next door who emerges into a creepy psychotic stalker. The movie has the typical drama, suspense, and terrorizing that you'd expect for this genre. Guzman looks a bit too old to play a 19 year old and this teenager seems too knowledgable & skilled for one that young. But in this kind of film, you just go with the flow and don't sweat the small stuff to enjoy the thrills & chills. It's predictable, but who cares, it's got JLo.

Alien gives it 3 "EpiPen" stars out of 4.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Foxcatcher

This s not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

Two men from two completely different worlds, one rich and one poor, cross paths in their search for Olympic gold fame. Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave (Mark Ruffalo) Schultz are two gold medal winning wrestling brothers lured to John E. du Pont's (Steve Carell) Foxcatcher training camp. These three actors give outstanding performances. Tatum & Ruffalo have convincingly transformed themselves into these wrestling athletes and project their strong brotherly bond. Carell's calm quiet loner demeanor of the eccentric rich heir to the Du Pont fortune is quite eerie and unsettling. Based of  true story, it is a slow-moving bizarre tale that's depressingly sad and tragic. 

Alien gives it 2 ½ "Golden Eagle of Team Foxcatcher" stars out of 4. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Taken 3

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

It's the "Fugitive" with the man with a certain skill set, Bryan Mills (Liam Neesom) as Dr. Richard Kimball, ex-wife Lenore St. John (Famke Janssen) as Mrs. Kimble, and LAPD Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forrest Whitaker) as Lt. Gerard, but there is no one-arm man. This Luc Besson plot is the third in the series so audiences should pretty well know what they are going to get.  The daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) gets taken in the original and the Bryan & Lenore get taken in the second film. So who is going to get taken now? The characters are so stereotyped casted that you would have sworn they were wearing their black hats and white hats (the good, the bad, and the stupid). Meet Mills' crew and golfing buddies in this murder mystery. No one expects realism here, just guilty pleasure fun.  

Alien gives it 3 "Listen carefully Kim & I'm sorry again Kim" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Black Hat

Apparently is takes great black hat hacker (Chris Hemsworth) to stop another hacker who threatens worldwide havoc though cyber crime attacks. Of course, you find your savior locked up in prison and you must bargain for his release to insure his assistance. Names like Hemsworth, Michael Mann, and Viola Davis will peak our interest in this premise. However, the film is so contrived and forced that the scenes are either telegraphed or ridiculous. How can the female lead resist bedding & falling in love with the "sexiest man alive". Who would have thought a computer hacker would look like Thor and fight like Jason Bourne. It's basically a detective mystery with a disappointing villain that will take you from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. The unsteady cam work was annoying. The film mixes both high and low techniques. The film was disappointing, unrealistic, and anti-climatic.

Alien gives it 2 "I smell a RAT, Remote Access Tool" stars out of 4.

Monday, January 12, 2015

American Sniper

It's "Act of Valor" meets "Zero Dark Thirty" meets "Coming Home" when a Texas  rodeo cowboy becomes patriotic and joins the Navy SEALs. Based on Chris Kyle's true story, Bradley Cooper masterfully and convincingly reinvents himself to portray one of America's most lethal sharp shooters with a well deserved nickname, the Legend. Director Clint Eastwood skillfully details the horrific war on terrorism and its effect on our brave men who fight to protect our country. It's powerful, intense, touching, and tragic. It's sniper vs sniper. It's a fire fight in a f*cking sandstorm where you can't see sh*t. It is a great tribute to those in uniform serving our nation and to our courageous war veterans. Real footage and photos honoring Chris Kyle play at the end of the movie.

Alien gives it 4 "bounty on your head" stars out of 4.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Paddington

From the deep jungles of darkest Peru, a stowaway bear heads for London seeking a new home and is temporarily taken in by the Brown family. This delightful animated live action comedy is essentially a fish-out-of-water story as the naive bear with childlike innocence manages to cause a bit of trouble at every turn. This cute and clever script is loaded with funny sight gags, beautiful visual effects, and attention to details. It is hilarious family fun for everyone, young and old. Nicole Kidman plays the evil taxidermist in a  Cruella DeVille type role. It's a charming plot about searching for a home and family.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "emergency marmalade sandwiches" stars out of 4.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

It's James Bond meets Eliza Doolittle meets "Kick-Ass" meets "Noah" meets "Scanners" when an secret organization of gentlemen spies with a code of conduct attempts to stop a mega-maniac's plan to end global warming through world domination and SIM cards. It's a throwback to the early 007 films but elevated to today's action & thrill levels. The villains are fantastic. Imagine an evil Nick Fury with a lisp and a henchman who is a Rosa Klebb/Oscar Pistorius/Wolverine cross. Based on a Mark Millar graphic novel, the film is outrageous fun that can poke fun at it's own genre. The wonderful weaponry includes deadly devices disguised in rings, watches, lighters, and bumbershoots. The action is insane at times. The cast includes Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, and Mark Strong.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "manners maketh man" stars out of 4.

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